Do you set out with a goal in mind and think” I can TOTALLY achieve that! It’s completely do-able”, Only to begin on your action plan and be met with unexpected challenges? That was EXACTLY my experience this year as I embarked upon my venture into the sport of Olympic weightlifting. This is a sport I have coached for many years, but never competed in myself. This year I set out with a goal of becoming the strongest woman in my age and weight class in Idaho…well, that lofty goal was smacked back into reality as I sat on the lifting platform unable to make a 5- pound increase.
Rewind: here is a little background on weightlifting in the United States. We use the imperial system of weight, which in a typical gym setting plates weight from 2.5 pounds, 5 pounds, 10 pounds, and so on…. all the way up to 45 pounds. I was finding my heavy snatch (an Olympic lift that explosively moves the barbell from the ground to above your head in a deep overhead squatting position) and I was trying to jump from 65 to 70 pounds, and I could NOT get that bar to move. Then I remembered that I had a set of “fractional plates” in my office. I was able to make a small jump from 65 to 66 pounds, then to 67, then 68…all the way until I was at 70. I had to make super small, itty bitty fractional jumps in weight to be able to make it to my goal of a heavy triple at 70 pounds. However, when I made it to 70, I had to switch all the fractional plates out for an actual 2.5-pound weight plate and re-do the lifts with the EXACT same weight just different plates on the barbell. Nothing changed except the appearance of the barbell AND the method in which I arrived there.
This led to the realization that grace, patience with my body’s ability to get stronger, and refined technique was ESSENTIAL. That small changes were no less beneficial than big changes, except that maybe, just maybe, all of those small changes would lead to long term success. So be patient, gentle, and consistent with your changes. No change is too small to make an impact.
By: Ashley Kate “A.K.” Whittaker